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Subsidies not comparable for fossil fuels, renewables 

Credit:  Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 19 September 2010 ~~

Richard Elrick and Jim Demetras (Letters, Sept. 16) took issue with the criticism of the economics of wind power in my Sept. 13 commentary, “Wind turbines a poor investment.” They cite the high subsidies to fossil fuels in comparison to renewable energy.

Their numbers are misleading. For example, Mr. Elrick notes the International Energy Agency’s estimates that fossil fuels received $557 billion in subsidies worldwide in 2008 while renewables received only $46 billion. Fair enough, but global production of renewable energy that year was the equivalent of roughly 40 billion gallons of gasoline – a subsidy of $1.15 per gallon. World production of fossil fuels, on the other hand, totaled 3.5 trillion gallons of gasoline equivalent, so the subsidy was $0.16 per gallon. In other words, Mr. Elrick’s numbers show that the subsidy for renewables was seven times greater than the fossil fuel subsidy.

The real question here is whether any town on the Cape would install a wind turbine if the town had to pay its full cost. I very much doubt it.

Bruce Everett


Source:  Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com 19 September 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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